California business leaders launch #CleanEconomyGovernor campaign

Business associations across California are joining forces to launch a #CleanEconomyGovernor campaign in advance of the November elections. The business groups, which represent and collaborate with companies that collectively generate more than $1 trillion in annual global economic activity, are urging gubernatorial candidates John Cox and Gavin Newsom to commit to growing California’s clean energy economy, which they see as essential for the state’s overall economic success. And they are asking the candidates to build on California’s ambitious new emissions-free electricity law and Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent executive order setting the goal of a carbon-neutral state economy by 2045. 

“From renewable energy and energy efficiency to zero-emission transportation California has established itself as a global leader on clean energy. Through a combination of bold leadership and thoughtful policy, the state’s competitive advantage has helped grow the economy into the fifth-largest in the world,” said Mike Mielke, Senior Vice President at Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “California’s business community wants our economic and environmental leadership to continue. We look to the next governor and legislature to continue the rapid transition away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future — to the benefit of our economy, residents and environment.”

Members of the #CleanEconomyGovernor coalition include regional business groups Cleantech San Diego, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, the Sierra Business Council, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and Sustain Orange County, as well as the national business organizations Advanced Energy Economy and Ceres

“More than 542,000 Californians work in advanced energy — from energy efficiency and renewable power to energy storage and clean transportation — and California’s advanced energy industry is projecting 10 percent job growth this year,” said Amisha Rai, Senior Director of California Policy for the Advanced Energy Economy 

(AEE). “With the global energy system going through a transformational change, California has an opportunity to harness the growing economic power of the advanced energy industry, create jobs, and build a clean and equitable energy future.”

Gov. Jerry Brown has a long history of supporting ambitious action on clean energy and climate change, including signing legislation for 100% clean electricity by 2045 and issuing an executive order calling for California’s economy to go carbon-neutral by the same year. The Global Climate Action Summit he co-chaired in San Francisco earlier this month received worldwide attention. As his administration comes to an end, Gov. Brown’s highly visible role at the Summit verified his international influence in bringing California to the forefront of addressing climate issues on a global scale.

“Our next governor must continue to protect and strengthen policies that have contributed to California’s success as a clean economy leader,” said Jason Anderson, president of Cleantech San Diego. “On the clean energy and climate policy front, California must continue to lead the nation and the world, and keep building a cleaner, more sustainable, more prosperous future.”

#CleanEconomyGovernor campaign activities include making the business case for continued clean energy and climate action in the news media, spreading the word on social media, and engaging with the gubernatorial candidates. The coalition has developed a list of the climate and energy actions that they want California’s next governor to champion. 

Transportation is California’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and members of the #CleanEconomyGovernor coalition say the next governor should establish a comprehensive vision for zero-emission transportation. That includes expanding access to zero-emission vehicles, and ensuring that alternative transportation options are available everywhere, including rural and underserved communities. Access is also key when it comes to developing a modern and resilient electricity grid — one that minimizes waste and facilitates the secure and responsive flow of clean energy while putting customers first. 

“California’s governor needs to understand that clean economic growth can’t be limited just to big cities and wealthy neighborhoods,” said Kerri Timmer, vice president of climate and energy at Sierra Business Council. “All California communities – no matter their zip code, income, or racial or ethnic makeup – must be included. Investments in energy efficiency, renewables, battery storage and distributed energy resources must be made throughout the state, including in our mountain and foothill communities that are already feeling the effects of climate change.”

The business leaders say that the next governor needs to take adaptation to climate change into account, as well. This summer served as a preview of the kind of extreme heat and wildfires that are hallmarks of a warming world.  
“We’ve seen what climate change can do to our communities, natural resources, and infrastructure,” said Timmer. “The next governor needs to make sure we’re prepared for extreme weather, drought, wildfires and all of the side effects of climate change. And as we build out clean energy infrastructure, we need our next Governor to make sure it’s resilient.”

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